Thursday, April 21, 2022

ICYMI: Coca-Cola walks back "illegal discriminatory outside-counsel policies"

As reported by The American Civil Rights Project (here):

After months of pressure from concerned stockholders, Coca-Cola’s General Counsel Monica Howard Douglas recently let it be known that the illegal discriminatory outside-counsel policies Coke announced with great fanfare last year “have not been and are not policy of the company.” ...

In January 2021, Douglas’s predecessor, Bradley Gayton, published the policies in a highly publicized open letter addressed to “U.S. Firms Supporting The Coca-Cola Company.” Under it, Coke’s law firms were required to staff Coke matters so that that “diverse” attorneys performed at least 30% of all hours billed, with “Black attorneys” performing “at least half [15%] of that amount” .... The letter stated that non-compliance for two successive quarters “will result” in Coke’s unilateral reduction of a firm’s future legal fees and that all future consideration for both new legal work and inclusion in Coke’s preferred-vendor list would turn on compliance....

[T]he ACR Project wrote to Coke, its officers, and its directors, on behalf of several shareholders, demanding the public retraction of the discriminatory policies. If Coke had refused, these shareholders would hold Coke’s officers and directors personally liable for breaching their fiduciary duties to investors.

After months of foot dragging, Ms. Douglas responded with her assurance that the discriminatory policies are not now and never have been company policy.

Stefan J. Padfield | Permalink


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